My natural inclination when I hear any politician speak is to walk up to them, hand them a shovel and point them to the business end of an elephant at a circus.
I usually stifle all of my inclinations for I don’t want to go all “Roger Stone” on anyone.
Some say it is because I have relatives who are politicians, or my father was a car salesman, or my own proximity over the years to those who prey on the commonwealth under the guise of serving it which moves me to such measures.
I believe it is more basic than that.
I don’t like most politicians and I don't respect those I don't like enough to lose my temper with them.
While they are meant to serve the government which employs them, the worst of them invariably end up twisting the government to serve them and their needs. This is abhorrent to my sensibilities.
While many believe we elect leaders, I’ve always thought we elect representatives to serve us - and not the other way around.
Many point to our forefathers and say George Washington was a great leader. True, he and others did lead, but Washington did so by serving. He famously stepped down after two terms as our first president, setting a precedent that was later codified into term limits.
The best politicians have always had a decent amount of humility and understand power and fame are fleeting - and they keep their eye on the greater good.
Today most politicians are more interested in perpetually dining at the public trough, getting rich doing it, and screwing the general public while at the same time the American people still seem to long for a monarchy - how else do you explain putting any modern politician on a pedestal and worshipping them?
Today this nation and indeed the world suffers from pagan worship of people no better and often times far worse than ourselves.
At this point those who despise Donald Trump will see him in these sentiments, while his worshippers will scream, “What about . . .”
I am not specifically speaking about the current president, but he certainly highlights the problem this country has with a lack of independent thought and blind hero worship or blind hatred.
However, Trump is merely a symptom of our own national schizophrenia. Not only have we lost touch with reality, but we worship those who do the nation the most harm.
We enthusiastically hand power of our own lives to those whom we would personally detest if we knew them. Arrogance, ignorance and condescension may hide themselves in plain sight in a public appearance, but those same qualities will get you shunned at most neighborhood barbecues or eagerly punched in the face in some local bars.
Yet we have been complicit in assisting these greedy, avaricious and addled fools in their despotic endeavors - sometimes unwittingly and many times eagerly.
These politicians gerrymander districts so they get to pick their voters instead of the voters choosing them. They give themselves pay raises. The give tax breaks to the rich, overtax the middle class, ignore the poor and turn a blind eye to infrastructure demands while treating science as if it were dark magic. It happens at the local, state and federal level. They lie. We eagerly lap up most of those lies and use them in rhetorical arguments with friends and neighbors much as yapping dogs at night when they disturb our slumber.
I recently berated a state legislator who proposed a bill that would hamper transparency in government. I couldn't take any more of the bull. “I love the press, but this is a cost-cutting measure,” I was told. The free press isn’t free and trusting the government to produce information without mandating it is merely silly or worse a conscious effort to withhold information from the public.
A city councilman once told me my problem was I didn’t respect the system. My problem, I told him was I didn’t respect him - personally. The system is fine. But it often seems those running for office from either major party or the many minor parties would be better off doing hard labor than laboring at politics. And the worst of the lot always get angry when you question them.
There are those who claim most people today are motivated by fear and today’s politicians, most especially President Donald Trump, preach to the fear.
The truth is more horrendous. People in this country are bored. They want to be entertained. Trump stands in the arena entertaining the masses pretending to be a gladiator and we eat it up - either hating it, loving it or in my case criticizing it. As this goes on, the hired hands, political hacks and thieves employed by the politicians are in the aisles of the coliseum picking our pockets or selling us all down the river for a nickel on the dollar even as the elected "faces" preach their desire to save us all.
Still many make a conscious choice to defend the tyrants. Worse, those very same people, without a fact at their disposal will question the eyewitness testimony of others - particularly if that information contradicts the philosophical predisposition of those who know nothing.
I watched Ronald Reagan begin the journey that led us to Trump. People wildly cheered the befuddled fool. I cringed. I watched him call nuclear war winnable, claimed the Sandinistas were going to invade our Southern Texas border and declare ketchup was a vegetable. I saw George Bush call Reagan’s economic policies “Voodoo” economics and then later swallow the voodoo wholesale. I watched as Clinton mocked his own family. I witnessed “Shrub” Bush kowtow to Dick Chaney and start a war for no reason. I watched Obama use the espionage act more than any other president in history to attack and jail whistleblowers.
But until Donald Trump I never saw anyone mock this country so completely and trash so thoroughly the founding principles of our constitution and our revolution. Perhaps it's best he did it so bluntly. Now we all know.
Guess what? There are plenty of people in this country who love him for it. How low do you have to go to be president? Trump has proved there is no basement and there never was.
Still, our Constitution remains a monument to the best instincts of the human race. Most politicians use it as toilet paper, unknowing of its value and therefore unappreciative of its goals and totally clueless they wouldn’t be able to exist without it. For truth be known, if most politicians had to survive in the world they seem hellbent on creating, then they’d be the first to die in a teeth gnashing, face-eating blood orgy reminiscent of a scene from the “Game of Thrones.”
That is what the American public seems to want. We love the circus. We love the staged wrestling match. We love the fixed football game. We love the appearance. No one wants to deal with the reality.
Should Donald Trump wake up in the middle of the night, spring from his bed with wild-yellow eyes and leap like a Hell Hound through the windows of the White House residence then lope through the abandoned streets of Washington on all fours in search of fresh meat like a drooling fetid-breath jagged-fanged beast, there are those who would stand by and cheer him on as they feast on popcorn and lite beer. Others would scream, rant and rave with the same glint in their eyes as Trump and denounce him for his inhumanity while they watched from the sideline drinking mimosas and eating brie.
We can cheer or scream all we want. But we gave these bastards the power over our lives. Every day we treat a politician as anything more than a hired hand, or refuse to get involve in the process of electing these fools, then we are the greater fools and we deserve every rotten thing we get. We should all go and look in the mirror and there, do not be surprised if you see the same fangs and wild eyes of the beast we claim to despise.
Things will only get better when we get better. We are not the enemy of the people. We are the people and as Pogo said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
- Brian J. Karem